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Preventing Sexual Assault: Colleges and Men Urged to Lead

PHOTO: One effort that continues to grow nationwide to raise awareness and get men more involved in sexual assault prevention is called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations
PHOTO: One effort that continues to grow nationwide to raise awareness and get men more involved in sexual assault prevention is called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations
February 10, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. - With an estimated one in five women sexually assaulted during college, a new effort is under way to help schools do a better job with prevention and response. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has been established to develop recommendations. Those should include ways to improve reporting, according to Janelle Moos, executive director, North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services (CAWS).

"For a long time we know that sexual assaults are going unreported on college campuses and we know it's a really underserved population, and we really think the new focus on sexual assaults that occur to that age population in the college setting is really important," Moos said.

Those who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to later have depression, battle substance abuse or suffer from a wide range of physical ailments.

In announcing the creation of the task force in late January, President Obama also called on men to become more involved in prevention. Moos said that could help shift the tide.

"We at CAWS North Dakota have started to focus really on bystander work and engaging men from that perspective. That if they witness either behaviors being exhibited or comments, that they take a stand against it. That they say 'It's not right. It's not okay.' That they start to take an active step in terms of preventing sexual assault from happening," she said.

In the U.S., an estimated 22 million women and 1.6 million men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

North Dakota sexual assault information is available at www.ndcaws.org. President Obama's task force information is at www.whitehouse.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND